'Without that time I wouldn’t be here': Former Bombers quarterback credits time in CFL following his NFL debut
WINNIPEG -- It was a short, but very sweet NFL debut for former Winnipeg Blue Bombers quarterback, Chris Streveler, on Sunday.
Six months since being released by the Bombers to pursue opportunities south of the border, the 25-year-old cracked the Arizona Cardinals Week 1 roster as the team’s primary backup, and was called into action with his team down three late in the third quarter.
While he may not have led a game-winning drive, Streveler was called upon for a key play late in the third quarter on third-and-one.
Taking his place under centre at his own 20-yard line, the ball was snapped and Streveler accomplished what he was sent out to do, and something he’d done numerous times up north, converting the first down on his first NFL carry, setting up starter Kyler Murray for an eventual touchdown, on route to a 24-20 Cardinals road win against the San Francisco 49ers.
“It was kind of funny, though, the way it happened it was just like I was doing the wedge stuff up in Canada,” Streveler described, Monday.
It was like, ok third and one, I’m coming in the game, lets hit this QB sneak type of thing, so it was eerily similar how I kind of ran out there, got the QB sneak and ran off.”
Having performed that play numerous times while with the Blue Bombers, the 2019 Grey Cup champion said the similarity of that play is a small sample of how his time in the CFL not only prepared him for the moment, it’s the reason he found himself there in the first place.
“Had I not been up there for two years, I wouldn’t have the opportunities down here that I have right now,” Streveler said. “That’s something that is never lost on me and something I’m definitely appreciative of.”
Going undrafted, and garnering next to no interest from NFL teams after his final college football season with South Dakota University in 2017, Streveler headed north to join the Bombers where he threw for 2,698 yards and 19 touchdowns while running for 1,167 yards and 22 touchdowns in 35 games with Winnipeg.
While the exposure certainly helped in his quest to sign an NFL contract, he believes it’s prepared him for this next big step in his career.
“Being up there, it taught me how it is to be a professional, it taught me how to prepare day in and day out for a long season playing against high-level players,” said Streveler.
“It taught me how to take care of my body like a professional. It’s just, it’s given me so many tools.”
Streveler says he’s been flooded with messages of congratulations from former teammates, coaches, and fans in Winnipeg. He’s even noticed more "surprising" messages from the greater Canadian Football League community, after becoming the first CFL quarterback to register a stat in the NFL since Jeff Garcia in 2009.
“As crazy as it is, I’ll even get Riders fans tweeting at me, like ‘I hate the Bombers but I’ve got to root for this guy’ and I’m just like, wow, I know it took a lot for that person to tweet that because it probably took a lot for them to say,” Streveler joked.
While he’s yet to receive his Grey Cup ring, due to being "a little preoccupied with some other things" and unable to get around to filling out his customs form for the team to ship it, he says he’s hoping to get that done in the next couple of days now that’s he’s settling into to his new role as the Cardinals’ primary backup quarterback.